One of the most powerful X-ray machines ever built has officially opened in the German city of Hamburg.
The facility, which has cost more than a billion euros to build, will be used to study the detailed structure of matter, atom by atom.
It is called the European X-ray Free Electron Laser (XFEL).
Scientists say the way it shines light on targets will permit, for example, chemical bonds to be filmed in the instant that they are made or broken.
The researchers anticipate fundamental discoveries that lead to new medical treatments and novel materials, to name just two possibilities.
The XFEL will begin operations with 11 nations as members of its consortium.
Britain, which has supplied equipment to the facility, is expected to sign commitment papers to join the group before the end of the year.
Prof Robert Feidenhans’l is the MD of the non-profit company established to run the …